Press Release
December 1, 2015


Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero said the government should come up with incentives to encourage renewable energy developers to invest in areas that remain without power and at the same time, help the country fulfill its pledge to address climate change.

Escudero made the proposal as the Philippines commits to a global effort to reduce the world's carbon emissions at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris.

The Philippines chairs the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a group of 20 nations most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

"If we are serious about reducing carbon emissions and making good on our international commitments, then we should push for the development of renewable energy sources," Escudero said.

The Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that the Philippines will need an additional 11,400 megawatts of generating capacity to meet the demand for electricity from 2016 to 2030--an opportunity for power producers to consider renewable energy development, the senator said.

Escudero, who heads the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, said renewable energy sources are not only sustainable but cheaper than fossil fuel because the sources, such as wind and sunshine, are virtually free.

Unfortunately, as of 2014, only 37 percent of generated power was supplied by renewable sources while 63 percent came from non-renewable energy, mainly coal, according to DOE data. Of the renewable sources, less than one percent was from wind and solar energy.

"It's pitiful. We have the resources that we need right here that can solve our problem of insufficient, unreliable and expensive power supply. But we're not developing them, so we have to ask ourselves: why isn't there enough interest in this business?" Escudero said.

Escudero, who is running as Sen. Grace Poe's vice president, said the government should study the possibility of giving tax incentives to companies that would go into renewable energy development, especially in areas with power problems like Mindanao.

He also proposed conducting a nationwide survey to identify which provinces could be tapped for various renewable energy projects.

"Having access to electricity is a basic right of all Filipinos, and our goal is to provide this access to low-income families without costing them half their take-home pay," Escudero said. "We cannot move forward with genuine economic development unless the problem of insufficient power supply is addressed."

He said the government should exhaust all means to bring affordable electricity to some 15 million Filipinos who still have no electricity in their homes.

"It is time to harness the resources that we have to produce the energy that we need. Otherwise, we will forever be at the mercy of the big power firms who control the supply of power, and hence, the amount that we pay for electricity," the senator said.

Philippine households pay the fifth highest power rate in the world, according to the International Energy Agency. In 2011, households here paid $ .2460/kWh for electricity, only slightly lower than Denmark's $.3563/kWh, the highest electricity rate in the world for residential consumers.

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